Dalian is one of China’s leading industrial cities and has many thriving manufacturers in the heavy industry sector. It is also an important centre for the manufacture of electronics, machinery and chemicals.

Its clean and efficient public transportation, along with its wide streets and army of street cleaners, makes it a pleasant place to live. However, its tourist attractions are geared for the local market and tend to disappoint overseas visitors.

Dalian’s Culture

Dalian has a history of occupation by various foreign powers, resulting in a distinctive local culture. In recent years, with China’s open-door policy and economic reform, dramatic changes have taken place in this coastal city, transforming it into a famous tourist destination within the country.

Nevertheless, there are still many elements of this colonial heritage remaining in Dalian today. One area of interest is Zhongshan Square (Zhongshan Guangchang), a large circular area full of remnants from the Russian and Japanese eras.

The cuisine of Dalian is influenced by its location, with seafood dishes such as snowflake scallops and salted fish forming a central part of the menu. Other favorites include Peking duck, filled wontons and Mongolian hotpots. However, if you’re looking for something more familiar to westerners, Dalian also has a wide variety of fast-food restaurants. Some even offer upscale dining experiences.

Dalian’s Natural Scenery

Dalian is an enchanting coastal city with beautiful beaches, gardens, scenic spots, a plethora of summer tourist resorts and friendly people. It is also one of the largest port cities in China and a popular travel destination for visitors from all over the world.

The biggest tourist attraction in Dalian is a 13,123-foot long beach called Tiger Beach. This expansive recreational area also features a polar aquarium, a tiger park and a large bird reserve.

There are many more attractions that are worth a visit, but it is important to plan a full day to see them all. The best way to get around is to take the Y=10 round-tour bus that operates throughout the day and covers many of the major sights in Binhai Road.

If you have a bit more time, consider visiting Lushun (formerly known as Port Arthur) to explore its military heritage and natural beauty. It is a fascinating and unique place to visit, as it is not a typical Chinese city and was once a Russian colony.

Dalian’s Food

The north-eastern Liaoning province’s coastal city Dalian is renowned for its fresh seafood selection. Sea bream, abalone, sea conch, echinus, shrimp and shellfish are the most popular choices here.

Aside from the fresh seafood dishes, Dalian also boasts an excellent variety of Korean and Japanese cuisine. Tourists can enjoy authentic Korean barbecue and bowls of cold noodles here.

One of the most famous local dishes is Men Zi, which is made by pan-frying sweet potato jelly with soft fire and braised with seafood like shrimp, sleeve-fish and Whelk meat. Another is Lantern-shaped steamed abalone, while other local delicacies include Stir-fried prawns and Salted fish and corn pancakes.

Dalian’s Nightlife

Dalian is a city of leisure, and its nightlife is no exception. The city boasts a number of international clubs and several Chinese venues.

There are 60 public squares throughout the city, and they are the most popular evening gathering place for local people. During the evening, parents with children, young lovers and elder people come to the squares to stroll, play tennis or exercise.

It’s a compact city, and you won’t find as many bars and clubs as in downtown Beijing or Shanghai. But it’s still a nice place to spend a night, especially if you like to party and want to get away from the busyness of the central part of the city.

For a more relaxing night out, try one of the city’s many rooftop lounges and bars. They offer a beautiful view of the city’s most famous landmarks, and they also tend to be more affordable than their downtown counterparts.